Rebecca Faulkenberry Chats With Kristin Hanggi & Natalie Roy About Let's Play: The C.R.E.A.T.E Podcast
Recently, Broadway star Rebecca Faulkenberry (Rock of Ages, Spiderman: Turn of the Dark, Groundhog Day) sat down with Tony-Nominated Director Kristin Hanggi and actress/author Natalie Roy to talk about tools for sustainability and joy in the entertainment industry. Natalie and Kristin have a podcast about the creative process called Let's Play: The C.R.E.A.T.E Podcast. They hold workshops in New York City, across the US, and internationally. Their next workshop is this Sunday, November 18th in New York with the topic: "It's Not a Hustle, It's a Game." Here is a tidbit of their candid conversation.
Kristin: That's right! What year was that? 2011? Seven years ago?!
Becca: Yep! And Natalie Roy, I met you during Rock of Ages too!
Natalie: Sure did!
Becca: When I was exhausted and in need of serious meditation and healing, and I don't know if you recall, I walked out of our first session like I was floating on a cloud!
Natalie: I remember it so clearly. Because Rock of Ages was my main reason for being in New York. I moved with my partner at the time who was in the show, and I was so enamored with life in New York and the whole Broadway community. I had always done manifestation, energy work, mainly with artists because I myself am an artist. Then I had this broadway star in my living room and I remember being so excited and also thinking, "I think we're going to be great friends."
Becca: And that I needed help! Oh, I loved it. I became addicted, and it was so life changing for me at the time.
Natalie: Then Rebecca sent me a bunch of other Broadway people, which is how I sort of started my teaching career in New York.
Kristin: I'd be in LA and hear from people, "Oh, I just did a session with Natalie Roy, and she changed my life." Composers, actors, musical directors-
Natalie: I had very fancy people on my living room floor.
Becca: Yes! And this is how I got to be a fly on the wall of seeing you two come together. So, please tell me about your first date!
Kristin: I totally asked Natalie out on a date.
Natalie: Yes, and I thought do I bring my headshot? What kind of date is this? Do I get dressed up?
Kristin: Yes, so backstory on my interest in the internal work of being an artist. As we all know, there are so many variables in being in entertainment, sometimes a movie is greenlit, sometimes it's not. Sometimes a show happens, sometimes it doesn't. So there was a time in my twenties when I had a project all set to go that fell out at the last minute. One day, I was journaling thinking, what am I supposed to do with this space? And I heard so clearly "teach." So, in my late-twenties, I began working with writers on the artistic process and I could see that every soul has something it wants to say and a purpose. So, I started teaching on how to listen to that inner voice and bring its art into the world, and that grew and grew. Then, after about ten years of working with artists in Los Angeles, I seriously heard in a meditation, "you're going to move to New York and you're going to start teaching workshops with Natalie."
Natalie: Kristin and I met when she was doing Rock of Ages in Toronto, and I thought, "I love her, we are cut from the same cloth."
Kristin: And I thought, "That girl is no joke! She is plugged in!"
Becca: So you're both teachers and creative artists - what came first for you?
Natalie: I got a Bachelor of Arts in school and was really interested in theater and psychology. It really intrigued me the impact the arts can have on communities and cultures. But the arts felt like something fancy people did, I came from a 900 person town. There wasn't really a lot of theater classes you could take. It wasn't until I moved to Toronto after college I started thinking, I could do this as a vocation. I started auditioning and had three amazing years and thought, this being an actor thing is awesome! Then in my mid twenties, I got that natural slow down thing, and I felt like all I was doing was serving tables, not serving humans. And I got really depressed. I realized that in my twenties, being famous was the goal, and that's not the purpose of being an artist. I want communion and connection. I decided to quit everything go to LA and sit on a beach. That was when I did my first yoga class and began trying to meditate. I learned a lot about Eastern Traditions and I literally felt like the Secret to Life was handed to me. I thought, if artists were given these tools, they would never be desperate, they would never think their agent was their source and supply, their lives would completely change. I ran back to Toronto and taught yoga in the park for two people. Then as it does, it started growing. And as I was practicing these tools, the agent started getting auditions, I started booking, and my next dream was to move to New York. All my dreams were coming true but it's like I knew it was coming because once I'd tapped into that inner game, I knew I could make that happen.
Becca: You were in New York and then you and Kristin had your first date and you two decided to do something together?
Natalie: I was acting and teaching on the side, and Kristin was directing, creating projects, teaching on the side. So on our first date, we had this conversation: what are you about? What do you teach?!
Kristin: I told Natalie, I feel this calling that we're supposed to teach a workshop together. I'm going to send you the materials I've been working on and tell me if it speaks to you. And I'd been teaching in LA, and what I had been speaking about was "Every single person on the planet is an artist, everyone's naturally creative. By expressing our creativity, we're getting in touch with our soul." This was how C.R.E.A.T.E came to be.
Natalie: What I was so turned on by in the Eastern Traditions, Kristin was teaching the more Western, New Thought Metaphysics. We realized we were teaching the exact same thing but with different words. It's like we're sisters that needed to find each other to become the whole package. I had one piece of the puzzle and Kristin and the other. We got so excited sitting in a room having conversations about this stuff, it didn't matter if 20 or 200 people showed up. As we taught, the conversations were about how do you deal with rejection? What happens when competition and jealousy come up? These were the conversations dealing with internal energy. No one ever gave a tool to most artists on how to navigate this energy. Then we wanted to expand on all those conversations and so, the podcast began...
Kristin: We began teaching twice a week to rooms of 50 or 60 people and podcasting weekly.
Natalie: We grew very fast.
Becca: Do you think rapid growth is a usual result of doing something you're very excited about? As opposed to worrying about how many people are going to show up? Non-attachment to things?
Kristin: There's a saying I love in the theater world that says all great shows get produced. If you have a great show, it will find a way to get up, So start wherever you are and doing your best, the Universe has a way of growing you exactly how you need and aligning you with the right people. What Natalie and I say a lot is "how is not my job, and when is not my business". We're just responsible for the energy, show up and give your best.
Natalie: Many of us will bail on a project or a dream because we can't see how it could possibly happen. But we're not supposed to see every step. If I saw every step and could look backwards, I would've been so overwhelmed and put the blankets over my head and said can't do it! I have to go through all that to get to this person? No way. So there's a divine intelligence in not knowing every step. You're entitled to your actions not the truth of your actions - which is an old Bahagavad Gita saying (an ancient and famous yogi text)
Kristin: One thing our buddy Rob Bell says, is it's a gift just to participate. If we can have that respect and reverence for our craft, gratitude that we just get to participate, it has to get bigger.
Natalie: And I believe once you get an idea or a desire, it's with you for a purpose. Like a baby only goes into the womb that's perfect for it, you only get an idea if it's meant for you and you are worthy of it. It came to you. So you just have to be deep in listening, okay where do I go next? Just play and dream, don't worry about what's the SAG rate on this! We need to capture that as adult artists.
Kristin: The resources always show up once you commit to a path. Not before you commit, but once you do, the world comes together to conspire for you.
Becca: And just to speak up for the actors thinking, "this is all very sweet and nice but I have to book a job because I can't pay my rent, I need results!: How is a spiritual awareness and CREATE beneficial for these people?
Natalie: In Elizabeth Gilbert's book Big Magic, she speaks about a writer who visited another writer and one was complaining about how nothing's working, he can't sell a book and don't dare tell him to keep pressing on! The other writer says I wouldn't dare say that, I think you should quit. I'm telling you that because writing is obviously not making you happy and you don't feel connected to it in a healthy way. However, if you walk away and your life feels worse because you just miss writing every day, then I would say press on. We can't put demands on our dreams - feed me, pay my rent. We need to be in partnership, in a romance with our dreams! When it doesn't feel good anymore, go somewhere else, try something else.
Kristin: Also just to say, often we want to go out into the world and get answers from people of how to live our life. Let my agent tell me what to do, this coach tell me, but the real inner teacher and guide is within, and you have to be still to listen to that. There's resistance to sitting and listening.
Becca: Something you two are very good at is choosing to follow what your gut tells you - were you always good at that, is it something you learned.
Natalie; I think my ego has been with me for so long, and my fear talking is so loud, I often wonder is this my intuition or is it my fear? The only way to get clearer on that is to spend more time with yourself. I say if you're not sure, then don't move. Don't talk more, listen more. Meditate longer. Maybe I'm grasping too hard for the answer and I need to go have a glass of wine or run around in Central Park. Einstein, one of the greatest minds in the world, when he'd have an issue with math, he'd go play the violin.
Kristin: As a director I started to notice, the more I listen to the intuitive impulses, the better the art gets. Sometimes the chatter in our minds is so loud we can't hear the impulses. But when we're in creative flow the chatter stops. Athletes talk about it, when you're in flow state, the helicopter of thoughts slows down.
Becca: I know your podcast has to do with these inner thoughts you download and then you think this is what I want to speak about, what have some of your favorites been?
Natalie: I remember we did a podcast on grief. And it was a time in my life when I was going through not a death of a person, but a death of my identity. It was like I was going through this maturation process and this girl I was, was changing into this woman and I felt a grieving process about all the things that got lost. When you dedicate yourself to a certain path you gain all these new beautiful things and there's other energy that goes. I remember laying on the floor having a temper tantrum banging my arms and then calling Kristin and saying I feel so much better! Grief isn't an energy you can control, it's an energy that has its own rhythm like an ocean and you allow yourself to surf on that wave. So then I transferred that to me as an artist, "how do I not control and just surf the wave in my scenes?" And there are no bad emotions, everything comes up for you to express and be transformed.
Becca: Do you feel you constantly work on yourself?
Natalie: Well, it's a practice. Consciousness and holistic tools are a practice. Do them regularly and you'll have more mastery with them, just like going to the gym. What we do consistently creates consistent results. In a changing and uncertain industry we can find ease and even joy in the process as we learn to surrender and enjoy the ride.
For more on Kristin and Natalie, you can go to www.thecreateseries.com or join their facebook page The C.R.E.A.T.E Series Facebook Page. On their website you can find their online course, "The Pathway to Your Dreams" and their NEW book. "Let's Play." You can also catch the ladies for their next live class in New York on November 18th at 7 pm, at The Royal Family Performing Arts Space (145 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036). This class is by donation and available for ALL artists and creators. Also check our their FREE PODCAST, "Let's Play, The C.R.E.A.T.E Podcast" on iTunes or Simplecast. Their most recent guest is Josh Radnor (actor, filmmaker and musician).
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